Rebirth/Retrospect

31 Dec

Fair warning: I know this post is a tad lengthier than normal, and not the usual “blog fare,” but it’s about something significant in my life and it would be very meaningful to me if you took the time to read it today.

Today being the last day that will ever exist of 2011, I had the full intention of sitting here and typing out the 3 pages worth of new year’s resolutions I wrote down the other night at 3am when I was having trouble falling asleep. Instead, something important happened and I need to tell you about it. But for you to understand its significance, I have to start at the beginning.

This past semester was really hard for me for a multitude of reasons. Although I definitely experienced some of the best moments of college so far, including new memories with old friends and now classic memories with new friends, there were also several elements which made it the worst semester I’ve ever had. It started when for the first time in my life I had to drop classes due to feeling impossibly overwhelmed. Taking the fewest number of units I’ve ever taken in my college career, I still had more work than ever before and harder material in each class; not to mention a plethora of group projects, a repetitive cycle in which I’m always the one who gets stuck doing all the work.

The intense academic strain coupled with my sorority responsibilities (which don’t get me wrong, I love to death) left me no time. Plus I was stressing about a crazy landlord situation and worried about a few close friends who were struggling with problems of their own. All these things began to build up and take their toll on me not just mentally, but physically. I went through periods of having zero appetite, insomnia, not being able to lay in bed because the knots in my back hurt so much, and experienced a resurgence of the severe migraines that I’d rarely felt in years. Overall, at times the physical problems were completely debilitating. But I refused to take a break and stressed myself out even more perfecting every single assignment.

That being said, there were also many amazing moments this semester. I really expanded my friend group and came to appreciate my sisters ten-fold. I pushed myself outside of my comfort zone and balanced a pretty active social life while working hard enough to pull a 4.0, despite the difficulty. I also took a strong leadership role in several of the clubs/activities I’m involved in, and feel very rewarded by and proud of what I have accomplished.

I had been looking forward to the beginning of winter break as a fresh start without responsibility where I could reset and start over. However, for some inexplicable reason, the stress and anxiety seemed to follow me home and physically I’ve been feeling unwell. (Well, that’s sort of an understatement.) It has slowly been dawning on me that something has to change. I can’t keep living my life with the anxiety that weighs me down and hurts me.

In 14 weeks I turn 21, and there are plenty of other wonderful things I’m looking forward to about next semester. I’m really looking forward to all of the classes I’m taking (except Spanish) and I can’t wait to start my new officer position as Scholarship Chair of my sorority, as well as get involved with a local youth group I’ve really been wanting to work with. Oh, did I mention I also have a very cool role in a truly awesome play that starts rehearsal in 2 weeks? (The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler.)

(Side note: I hope my blog doesn’t get sent to the spam folder for all you 200+ subscribers now that I included the word “vagina.” Oops, haha.)

I was sitting on the couch late the other night, feeling sick and lethargic, listening to the screeching and shrieking howls of yet another re-run of Toddlers & Tiaras and the sound was grating on my brain. I knew there had to be something more productive, worthwhile, valuable that I could be doing, should be doing, at that moment to stop the blah.

I scoured the house gathering up a handful of vanilla candles, scrounged up an old bottle of peppermint relaxation bubble bath, drew a hot bath, and just laid in the water. I listened to an entire album (Ma Fleur by The Cinematic Orchestra) and closed my eyes and breathed in the soothing, comforting smells. Cheesy? Maybe. But when I got out, I felt like a whole new person.

Tomorrow is the first day of 2012. And I have a feeling know it is going to be the most wonderful, absolute best year yet.

*crickets* Is anyone still reading this? If you’re out there in the blogosphere and you made it this far, please take a moment to leave a comment and tell me something lovely :)

Bisous,

Rachel

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One Response to “Rebirth/Retrospect”

  1. Allison January 3, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    I know EXACTLY how you feel. I had last week off work and had planned on it being a productive, yet relaxing week. Instead, I spent all week stressing on things I knew I had to do when I got back to work, feeling exhausted from my constant over-committing to things. That’s when the anxiety set in. I felt like I had an elephant sitting on my chest. I couldn’t even muster up the energy or enthusiasm to go out for New Year’s Eve. It was all too much. I think I’ll take a bubble bath tonight and see if that helps. :) Thanks for sharing! It’s nice to know I’m not alone in feeling overwhelmed.

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